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Welcome to Columba Press

About Columba Press

A brief history of Columba

In April 1985 we published our first three titles under the newly-founded imprint, The Columba Press. The three books were Masses with Young People by Donal Neary SJ, Funeral Homilies edited by Liam Swords, and Disturbing the Peace by Eamonn Bredin. Since then we have grown substantially and now publish across a broad range of areas, including pastoral resources, spirituality, theology, the arts, and history. We publish approximately thirty-five new titles per year and have around 350 books in print. In 2001 we published The Glenstal Book of Prayer. This book has sold over 150,000 copies worldwide and it topped the bestsellers list in Ireland for eighteen weeks! This was followed in 2004 with the very successful Book of Common Prayer for the Church of Ireland, which also, in its various editions, sold over 120,000 copies.

Our continuing publishing programme seeks to keep up with the rapid changes in both church and society. Among Columba's bestselling authors are James P. Mackey. Daniel J. O'Leary, Mark Patrick Hederman, Pat Collins, Tony Flannery, Sean Fagan and Brian D'Arcy.

In addition to our own publishing programme, Columba is also the European distributor for several leading US and Canadian publishers, and the Irish distributor for a number of British and Irish imprints.

The Columba Press

The Name: Columba is the Latinised form commonly used for the name of the Irish sixth-century saint, St Colmcille. Founder of major monasteries at Derry, Durrow and Kells in Ireland, Columba also went to Scotland as a missionary where he founded the monastery of Iona. Columba has also, of course, a distinct relevance to publishing since tradition has it that he was responsible for the first judicial ruling on copyright. Around 560 AD he borrowed an illuminated manuscript from St Finnian and secretly copied it. Finnian demanded that both the original and the copy be returned to him. The dispute was referred to the High King whose ruling was: 'Le gach bó a buinín, agus le gach leabhar a chóip', 'to every cow her calf and to every book its copy.'

The Logo: The name Colmcille can be translated into English as 'Dove of the Church'. Bill Bolger who designed a large number of our book covers, took the inspiration for the logo from a carving representing Noah's ark on the West Cross at Killary, Co Meath. He then cut a broad quill pen and drew the logo free-hand, the central motif being the Dove and the idea of travel and international connection being symbolised by waves of the sea.

The Colophon: The distinctive script-form of our name was designed by Liam Miller, using a Czechoslovakian uncial.

Who's who at Columba:

Michael Brennan, Sales Manager. Mobile 087 267 9011

Patrick O'Donoghue, Managing Editor. Mobile 087 234 0229

Patricia Lowth, Business Manager. 

Ellen Monnelly, Marketing & Publicity Manager.

Helene Pertl, Lead Designer.